The Surreal Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

I’d never really dreamt about visiting Singapore, maybe because everyone says it’s so expensive. However, Gardens by the Bay has always been on my list.

Seeing those beautiful gardens, with illuminated artificial trees at night has been a desire for a long time.

Recently, I was invited by friends to visit Singapore, and since I was spending five months in Asia, I could not miss the opportunity.

vertical artificial trees ilumintade in the evening in Singapore

Singapore, known as the Lion City, is an island city/country in Southeast Asia, just off southern Malaysia.

It was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. Since its independence in 1965, it has become one of the most prosperous countries in the world and boasts the world’s busiest port.

As one of the hubs in Southeast Asia, some people just do a layover in Singapore and others even sleep at Singapore Airport.

But the city has a very interesting contrast of impressive skyscrapers, green areas (more than 50 % of its surface area is covered by greenery), colonial houses, and also a medley of Chinese, Indian, and Malay influences.

Thus, Singapore has Buddhist temples, Indian temples and neighbourhoods, and even a huge mosque on Arab Street.

The Enchanting Gardens 

There are many things to do in Singapore, but as soon as I arrived, checked in, and had lunch, the first thing that I wanted to do was…? Exactly, I wanted to see the Gardens by the Bay.

I decided to walk all the way from my hotel in Chinatown, one of the best areas to stay in Singapore, to Marina Bay Sands (a 40min walk), to get a taste of the city. And what a city!! The Marina Bay Sands Building and Singapore’s skyline are extraordinary.

Gardens by the Bay, situated next to Marina Bay Sands, is a large public garden that houses two huge climate-controlled conservatories – the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest as well as a cluster of gigantic Super Trees.

Once you’re in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, you can cross the Dragonfly Bridge or Meadow Bridge into Gardens by the Bay.

The view from the Dragonfly Bridge is amazing, and I could not wait to finally get into the gardens.

two huge climate-controlled conservatories, artificial and natural trees of the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
View from the Dragonfly Bridge.

But unfortunately, when I arrived there, I found out that the Cloud Forest was closed that day, and only the Flower Dome was open. The following day it would be the opposite. They closed them once a month for maintenance, so I had to wait two more days to finally visit both.

Visiting Gardens by the Bay

You must include Gardens By the Bay in your Singapore itinerary. It was the main reason that I visited this country and after seeing so many pictures of this place, I had high expectations.

Finally, on Wednesday 18th of January 2017, I woke up early in the morning and went to the ticket office to buy my tickets.

The Flower Dome, the Cloud Forest, and the OCBC Skywalk are open daily from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM; and the Outdoor Gardens is also open daily from 5:00 AM to 2:00 AM.

Gardens by the Bay entrance fee:

  1. One conservatory: S$ 16
  2. Flower Dome + Cloud Forest combined: S$ 28
  3. OCBC Skyway: S$ 8

Of course, I bought the tickets for both conservatories, and I got a 15 % discount because I showed my AirAsia boarding pass (you can also get discounts if you’re flying with Singapore Airlines, or have OCBC, Safra, Passion, NTUC, and American Express cards).

a printed map of the Gardens by the Bay
Gardens by the bay map.

The Flower Dome

With tickets and map in hand, the first one that I visited was the Flower Dome, which is the largest glass greenhouse in the world and has a diverse range of plant life from the world’s four corners: from thousand-year-old olive trees to cactus, palm trees, and of course the floral display.

The huge and climate-controlled dome has three levels and is divided into different sections. Some of the gardens displayed are: Australian, South American, Mediterranean, South African, etc. And besides the trees and flowers, you can also find some artwork.

My favourite part was the Flower Field on the lower level. Here you can find many different species and colours of flowers, as well as structures, like houses, statues, etc.

The Succulent Garden on the upper level is very nice as well, with many cacti, baobabs, and other dry climate plants.

I liked the Flower Dome, but to be honest I was expecting more, actually many more flowers. On the top, the South America Gardens has Asian balloons at the entrance which for me doesn’t make too much sense…

Anyhow, my visit took around 1:30 and I had fun taking pictures and admiring the flowery dome.

The Surprising Cloud Forest

Just after the exit of the Flower Dome, is the entrance to the Cloud Forest.

I was not expecting anything from the Cloud Dome and had never seen any pictures of it.

When I entered the Cloud Forest, what a surprise! A 35-m man-made mountain and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall welcomed me. The mountain is covered with flowers and vegetation and it was completely awesome.

A 35-m man-made mountain covered with flowers and vegetation and the world’s tallest indoor at the Cloud Forest, Singapore
The Cloud Forest conservatory is much taller than the Flower Dome, and you need to take an elevator to the sixth floor to walk on a spiral platform that goes around the mountain.

The plants and flowers displayed are from tropical highlands up to 2,000m above sea level and include even carnivorous species. The plants are dazzling, but walking on the elevated platform is extraordinary.

The aerial view of the canopy, the huge tall dome with the city in the background, and people walking on the mountainside below was just surreal; it felt like a sci-fi movie.

The delightful Supertrees

I would say that the image of the Supertrees has become a symbol of Singapore as much as the Merlion (a statue of a monster that has the head of a lion and the body of a fish, which is considered Singapore’s nation icon) that resides at the waterfront of Merlion National Park.

The Supertrees are dramatic vertical plants that consist of four parts: a reinforced concrete core, trunk, planting panels for the living skin, and the canopy (some of them have photovoltaic cells on the canopy to harvest solar energy).

There are 18 Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay that measure between 25 – 50m in height and are covered with 162,900 plants comprising more than 200 species.

Supertrees, dramatic vertical plants that consist of four parts: a reinforced concrete core, trunk, planting panels for the living skin, and the canopy (some of them have photovoltaic cells on the canopy to harvest solar energy).

You can find the Supertrees in three different gardens: Silver Garden, Golden Garden, and Supertree Grove.

Twelve of them are located in the Supertree Grove, which has a 22m high and 128m long bridge that connects two trees called OCBC Skyway. It provides a superb view of the whole complex, and the tickets for it are sold separately.

When the night falls the Supertrees come to life and are sparkling with thousands of lamps with different shades and colours.

The Garden Rhapsody, a light, and sound show that occurs nightly at 7:45 PM and 8:45 PM, and enchants everyone present.

I was amazed by the Supertrees’ beauty and ingenuity!

And there is much more to see on Gardens by the Bay

Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, and The Supertrees are just three of the key attractions of Gardens by the Bay.

The others are: Heritage Gardens, World of Plants, Dragonfly Lake, Far East Organization Children’s Garden (one of the best things to do in Singapore with kids), and Sun Pavilion.

Of those, the one that I liked most was the Dragonfly Lake, which has a 440m boardwalk and captivating statues.

There are also ten restaurants and cafés (find out here What to eat in Singapore), and four areas for events including The Meadow, Singapore’s largest outdoor space venue that hosts up to 30,000 people.

Visiting Gardens by the Bay was a delightful experience, and I’m glad that after years I had the chance to see it in person.

Singapore is a terrific place to visit with many interesting neighbourhoods, great restaurants, themed parks, and an amazing skyline. And if you love outdoor activities there are really good hikes in Singapore as well.

Safe travels and enjoy the Gardens by the Bay!

Buy your ticket online in advance here.

More posts about Southeast Asia that might interest you:

* Both articles are available in IOS and Android, however, the giveaway is valid only for IOS.

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The Surreal Gardens by the Bay, Singapore 1

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Visiting Singapore

Where is Singapore located?

Singapore lies on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 136km North of the equator (check the map here).

How to get there

You can get to Singapore by plane, train, and even bus.

* By plane

Singapore is one of the hubs in Southeast Asia and the Changi International Airport is well-connected with many cities around the world.

Some of the companies operating are: British Airways, Air France, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Air Asia, EVA Air, Thai Airways, Jet Star, Cathay Pacific, etc.

You can book your flights with Skyscanner, which is the website that I use and trust.

* By train

One of the cheapest ways to get to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur is by train, but the journey is very long and slow (it takes about 6 – 7 hours).

There are three trains daily, and you can find more information and buy your ticket online here.

In fact, you can also take the train from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur and then from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.

* By bus

The journey by bus from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore takes around 5 – 7 hours depending on traffic conditions.

Book your bus ticket online in advance here.

Best time to visit it

Singapore has warm and humid weather all year round. The wettest months are between November to January, and the hottest ones are May and June.

So, the best time to visit Singapore is between February to April, and July to September.

I was there in the middle of January and it rained every single day during my stay but scattered rains though.

Where to stay in Singapore

There are some nice boutique hotels and cool hostels in Singapore, and if you’re looking for accommodation I recommend:

Budget: Hipstercity Hostel and CapsulePod @Aljunied.

Great Value for Money: Naumi Hotel, The Sultan, and Wanderlust Hotel.

Luxury: Marina Bay Sands, Raffles, The Fullerton Hotel, and Parkroyal Collection Pickering.

Extra Tips for Visiting Gardens by the Bay

* The best time to visit it is at the end of the afternoon once you can stay there to watch the Garden Rhapsody show.

* I watched the light and sound show twice and I think the best place to see it is from the Dragonfly Bridge.

* The nearest MRT to Garden by the Bay is the Bayfront station (CE1/DT16), via the circle line or downtown line.

* Bring sunscreen, water, and insect repellent.

* There are lockers available for S$ 1,00 where you can leave your belongings.

* If you use your card or airline ticket to get a discount, you also receive a S$5 voucher to use in the restaurant Bakerzin.

* Before your visit check the official website to make sure that both domes will be open.

Singapore Tours That I Recommend

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